Instructional Design

Implementing a Syllabus Quiz

Do students actually read the syllabus, or do they just respond to due dates that are posted in Blackboard? Just following along in Blackboard is not the ideal way for students to make sure all course requirements are achieved. For many students, an assignment that is not in Blackboard simply does not exist.

Many classes have capstone or other cumulative activities or larger projects due at the end of the term. Have you ever had a student claimed to not know about an assignment that was due at the end of the semester? Most instructors have.

Sometimes the day we talk about a particular assignment a number of students will be absent. It is inevitable that a few of those students will have paid little attention to the syllabus. Implementing a syllabus quiz at the beginning of the term is one way to address the problem of students saying “I didn’t know”.

Some examples of the I didn’t know:

. . . attendance was required

. . . a doctor’s note was required for missing an exam

. . . Wikipedia is not allowed as a source

. . . that the writing center existed

. . . I could not pass the class if I did not do the homework

. . . we had to do a group project outside of class

Each of these examples could clearly be eliminated by reading the syllabus.

Implementing a multiple-choice syllabus quiz students are to take outside of class can help alleviate misunderstandings and get your students minds right at the beginning of the term by fully making students comprehend what they have to do in your class. This is also a great opportunity for students to practice using Repsondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor if you plan on giving online assessments during the semester.  You can also use this activity as feedback on your syllabi designing skills.

Consider implementing a syllabus quiz at the beginning of the term, require a perfect score (you will have to turn on unlimited attempts for the quiz) and have it count for low stakes (a few points). It could make things easier for you and your students – especially at the end of the semester.